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Posts Tagged ‘Faugeres’

A diverse wine selection at The Locke Store in Millwood, VA

The wines of Agrina from Croatia, Burlotto from Italy, and Historic Series Madeira from Portugal may all be found at The Locke Store in Millwood, Virginia.  I found myself in the small community of Millwood as we returned with our daughter from sleepaway camp the other week.  After eating fried chicken for lunch and ice cream for dessert, she was of course, in need of a snack.  The Locke Store was the closest store I could find so through the country road we drove.  What good luck for me as the wine selection is more akin to what I find in Washington, DC, some 60 miles away.

The Locke Store was built in 1836 but it is since 1844 that it has continuously operated as a store until this day.  In 2002, Juliet Mackay-Smith became proprietor, and under her eye a surprisingly diverse wine selection occupies a good portion of the store.  I grabbed several bottles from vintages I had yet to taste.  If you find yourself in the area, perhaps visiting the Burwell-Morgan Mill or Carter Hall, then be sure to store by the store to pick up some wine as well.

2016 Badenhorst Family Wines, Secateurs Vintage Red Wine – $19
Imported by Broadbent Selections.  This wine is a blend of 56% Shiraz, 27% Cinsault, 21% Grenache, and 1% Tinta Barocca.  Alcohol 13%.  The tart berries in the rounded start soon take on flavors of black tea and black fruit.  This is a drier wine but with a good vein of flavor.  Medium bodied with some supportive structure in the middle, this is a solid wine for drinking now.  ** Now – 2019.

2015 Frederick Brouca, Champs Pentus, Faugeres – $20
Imported by Elite Wines.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Carignan.  Alcohol 13%.  Needs some air to come together and shake off a bit of yeast.  It is lively on the tongue, almost with spritz, which moves the wine into a vein of dry, mineral, black flavors.  There is a structure of very fine tannins, almost too powerful when first opened, which eventually balance out due to a developing core of round, cherry flavors upfront.  This should improve once the structure resolves. **(*) Now – 2023.

2015 Chateau Puech-Haut, Le Prestige, Saint-Drezery – $23
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  A cuvee for Philipe Cambie and Eric Solomon.  Alcohol 15%.  A touch earthy with creamy blue fruit that drapes over the tongue due to the lower acidity start.  It transits to a mineral, black finish with a touch more acidity.  Notes of some sweet oak are at the end. This is satisfyingly flavorful wine with minimal tannins that is easy to drink now.  *** Now.

A new Faugeres

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

The 2014 Domaine Frederic Brouca, Champs Pentus, Faugeres is not only a new wine for me but also for the market.  Frederic and Elaine, his wife, only purchased their 25 acres of vines in 2012 with the first vintage in 2013.  Press sheets state that the wines are produced using Burgundian philosophy with minimal use of sulphur. The fruit for this wine comes from vines planted on metamorphic and schist soils.  The soils and winemaking seem to come through.  What the wine clearly conveys is a sense of stone-laden soils.  The low-sulphur lends some yeasty aromas and the early harvested fruit results in a fresher, less weighty wine.  This is a tasty wine of personality at an attractive price.  It opened up with air but I was left with the impression it was still tight.  You might want to wait until the new year before drinking a bottle.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Domaine Frederic Brouca, Champs Pentus, Faugeres – $17
Imported by Elite Wines. This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Mouvredge which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for 10 months in stainless steel.  It was raised with minimal sulphur.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a minerally wine with a little bit of yeasty perfume.  In the mouth, the powdery flavors are driven by acidity with lifted, dry fruit, cinnamon spices, chocolate, and minerals.  *** 2017-2020.

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Exciting French Wines from Barral, Clape, Reynaud, Veryney, and more

Jenn and I have tasted five exciting French red wines this past week.  The latest vintage of the 2014 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone  is all about drinkability.  There is both more fruit and accessibility compare with the 2012 vintage.  If you like a brighter rendition of Grenache then grab a bottle for this wine even includes some spice and mineral notes.  Right now the 2014 Domaine A. Clape, Les Vin des Amis is notable for its wonderful nose.  I always find the Les Vin des Amis a unique and traditional wine.  If the flavors catch up with the aroma then this should be a killer wine in a few years.  Last tasted a year ago, the 2013 Domaine Georges Verney, Sainte-Agathe, Cotes du Rhone is now starting to open up.  Though labeled Cotes du Rhone this made from Syrah vines in Condrieu which is right next to Cote-Rotie.  The nose is quite complex and worth purchasing based on that quality alone.  The flavors are savory and dry.  I suspect this will be even better next summer.  The 2011 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse follows the fantastic 2010 vintage which set a very high bar when tasted this Fall.  If the 2011 vintage is not up to the regard of the 2010 vintage in the Rhone, this wine will not disappoint.  It still offers gobs of ripe strawberry flavors unique to Reynaud just without the sense of future potential.  This bottle did not appreciatively change over five hours.  In my mind, this is an excellent wine to drink while the 2010 develops in your basement.  Finally, I decided to revisit the 2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Valiniere, Faugeres.  My sneaking suspicion is that I prefer some of the older Barral vintages.  This 2009 Valiniere is one example.  There is still a hefty bit of structure but the flavors are starting to take over with exuberant energy.  This is great stuff with broad appeal.  All wines, except for the Barral, are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Domaine La Manarine, Cotes du Rhone – $14
Imported by Neal Rosenthal.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from vines averaging 35 years of age. The fruit was destemmed with elevage taking 20-24 months. Alcohol 14%.  The round fruity start is bright but quickly picks up ripeness, good acidity, and supportive structure.  This is very much a wine for right now.  It is flavorful, has a bit of dry spice, and a blue, mineral finish.  *** Now.

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2014 Domaine A. Clape, Les Vin des Amis – $30
Imported by Kermit Lynch.   This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 40-year-old vines on soils of round river stones. It was fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks then underwent malolactic fermentation and aging for 6 months in cement cuves and 6 months in foudres. Alcohol 12%.  The grapey color makes way to a fantastic and unique nose full of berry and meat aromas.  In the mouth the wine offers tart, green, and old school flavors marked by  a perfumed start.  A couple hours of air lets the wine flesh out with a tart start, moderate structure, and dry finish.  While the flavors remain on the brighter side of things it does take on the subtlest hint of fat by the end.  Needs a bit more time.  *** perhaps ***(*) Now – 2026.

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2013 Domaine Georges Verney, Sainte-Agathe, Cotes du Rhone – $27
Imported by Simon N’ Cellars.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 40 year old vines located near Condrieu.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for one year in use barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The aromatic nose reveals fine tropical floral aromas mixed with sweet mandarin oranges and cardamom.  The flavors are drier and darker in the mouth than I would expect.  There is a touch of savory to the dry red fruit.  While progressing well I would suggest holding off another year.  *** Now – 2022.

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2011 Domaine des Tours, VdP Vaucluse – $30
This wine is a blend of Grenache, Counoise, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose complements the forward flavors of ripe strawberry which continue through the aftertaste.  There is more sense of weight with plenty of mouth coating flavors.  It is a seamless wine where the acidity and structure are perfectly bound such that you only notice flavor.  In the end this is a wine to drink now, barely changing with extended air.  **** Now – 2021.

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2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Valiniere, Faugeres
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from 15-30 year old vines. The wine was aged 24 to 26 months in 10% new oak.  Alcohol 14%.  There is much more approachable concentrated fruit that is almost thick with extract.  The fine tannins are still there though they become riper towards the middle where a sense of freshness quickly makes way to strapping and exuberant energy.  The fruit overlays the acidity.  After a few hours the wine fleshes out with cool blue fruit and a little fat.  The structure (and energy!) will allow this wine to develop for many more years but the flavors have expanded enough that this is downright pleasurable to drink.  **** Now – 2028.

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A wide variety of French wines.

February 9, 2016 Leave a comment

This post features a number of French wines which we have recently drunk.  My favorite pair are the 2013 Ola Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon and the 2011 Domaine Cheveau, Or Rouge, Beaujolais Villages.  The Raffault is a finely scented, fresh, satisfying herbaceous wine from Chinon.  I kept finding myself returning to my glass.  The Cheveau has benefited from a few years of age but still retains lovely cool, dense flavors.   The 2013 Alleno & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone is also good with its minerally, black flavors but it will greatly benefit from short-term aging. Of the wines for drinking now the 2014 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois offers a tart, red grapefruit profile whereas the 2011 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres offers forward drinking flavors of raspberry candy.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois – $13
Imported by Vintage 59.  This wine is a blend of old-vine Carignan and Grenache.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was of raspberry candy.  In the mouth the tart red and black fruit had a slight hint of red grapefruit.  In general there was a beam of tart and ripe fruit, minimal structure which was integrated, and spices in the end.  The tart aspects matched with the developing bitters flavor.  ** Now – 2017.

2014 Damien Coquelet, Cote du Py, Morgon – $22
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  Alcohol.  Tasted over a few days the lovely nose eventually took on graphite notes.  This light, bright wine was pure in nature with a lively start, building dry weight, and an ethereal aftertaste.  It had slightly watering acidity and a dry, structured middle.  The dry flavors existed over a layer of stone and mineral.  I suspect this might open up in a year.  It is best to cellar it instead of giving it extended decant time because it developed a Pilsner beer note.  **(*) 2017-2019.

2013 Alleno & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Classic Wines.  This wine is mostly Syrah that was fermented and aged on concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The minerally, black fruit flavors left some texture on the gums and juicy acidity on the tongue.  With controlled flavors the gentle ripe spices took on some wood notes and persisted through the aftertaste.  This needs short-term aging.  *** 2017-2020.

2013 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup, Tour de Pierres, Pic St Loup – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre.   Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is attractive with delicate floral and graphite aromas. In the mouth the wine has very high-toned, citric red fruit.  With extended air it seemed to deepen up a bit and not fall into Pilsner yeast land.  ** Now – 2017.

2013 Ola Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $17
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 12.5%.  This fresh, scented wine is attractively herbaceous.  The flavors continue with herbaceous red and black fruit flavors which are dry.  This flavorful wine is mouthfilling yet medium-bodied with an almost gentle finish.  With air sweet dried herbs come out along with very, very fine tannins.  The acidity is indistinguishably integrated.  *** Now – 2018.

2011 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres – $18
A Franck’s Signature Wines imported by Promex Wines.  This wine is a blend of 55% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14%.  The forward flavors of raspberry candy are rounded with mouthfilling weight.  With air it takes on some darker notes.  Very much a wine to drink right now. ** Now – 2017.

2011 Domaine Cheveau, Or Rouge, Beaujolais Villages – $18
Imported by Rosenthal.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.   Alcohol 13%.  The nose remained subtle but in the mouth were cool, dense fruit with watery acidity, a fresh middle, and tannins noticeable in the aftertaste.  With air the firm red fruits took on additional flavors of ripe black fruit.  The wine remained a little puckering on the sides of the tongue.  *** Now – 2020.

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Liquid research: tasting recent arrivals at MacArthur Beverages.

September 21, 2015 Leave a comment

This past week I joined Phil at MacArthur Beverages to sample several new wine selections.  With the clear bottle, the color of the 2013 Spook Light, Skin Fermented Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay might look odd at first.  However, this is a skin fermented wine so the orange-rust color is correct.  It is a generous and rounded wine that has attractive minerals.  I found the 2010 M & S Ogier, l’Ame Soeur, Syrah de Seyssuel, VdP Collines Rhodaniennes to be a subtle example of northern Rhone Syrah.  Though well-made and enjoyable, it did not knock my socks off.  The 2012 Domaine Gramenon, La Sagesse, Cotes du Rhone is a very interesting wine that continued to change and evolve while I was at the store.  Initially it was quite earthy and young then shortly before I left it was more generous with very clean fruit and a beautiful rosemary flavor.  This deserves to be tasted again!  The bottle of 2012 Domaine Leon Barral, Faugeres reminded me of earlier vintages where I fell in love with the fruit and delivery of flavors unique to Barral.  There was nothing but pleasure from this wine which I recommend you drink within the next two years.  The guys had trolled the Californian dump-bin from which came the 2004 Pax, Red Wine, Sonoma Hillsides, Sonoma County.  Let us just say it was massive.  Tim then returned with a bottle of the 2011 Le Paine, Piane, Colline Novaresi.  I neglected to take a picture but my initial taste of this mostly Croatina based wine was very promising.  There is certainly a different flavor profile to the rather floral, black fruited flavors.  This long, textured wine deserves another visit as well.  Thanks to everyone for letting me join in!

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2013 Spook Light, Skin Fermented Pinot Gris, Hawke’s Bay – $35
This wine is 100% skin-fermented Pinot Gris that was rested on the lees in stainless steel until bottled.  Alcohol 13.1%.  This rounded and weighty wine, had red fruit that mixed with a hint of skin/stems, juicy acidity, and a linear mineral streak.

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2010 M & S Ogier, l’Ame Soeur, Syrah de Seyssuel, VdP Collines Rhodaniennes – $60
Imported by Robert Kacher.  This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 13 year old vines that was completely destemmed then aged 18 months in 20% new oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose bore hints of meat, pepper, and some smoke.  In the mouth were purple black fruit with an initially very modest structure.  The wine was harmonious and mouthfilling with some earth-like complexity.  The structure eventually built as did blacker fruit.  A bit shy at this point.

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2012 Domaine Gramenon, La Sagesse, Cotes du Rhone – $37
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from 60 year old vines that was fermented in cement cuve before aging 12 months in barriques.  The animale nose made way to ripe, quickly expanding flavors of dark red fruit.  This wine continued to change, initially possessing floral flavors that poked through before a hint of tea, then took on complexity from a strong rosemary flavor that mixed with fresh, clean fruit.  There was certainly a very fine, drying tannic structure.  Very interesting.

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2012 Domaine Leon Barral, Faugeres – $26
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This opened up noticeably to offer ripe, red, grippy fruit that had a subtle citric note.  It continued to be a vibrant wine with dark, floral potpourri notes, ripe tannins, a grippy nature, and fruit that almost became sweet.  I like the animale flavors.  This bottle drank very well with consistent stability.

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2004 Pax, Red Wine, Sonoma Hillsides, Sonoma County – $20
This wine is a blend of 52% Syrah, 47% Grenache, and 1% Roussanne.  This big red wine was evocative of big Australian wine that had a stemmy, mineral side.

The Flavorful 2011 Domaine Léon Barral, Faugères

July 1, 2014 1 comment

This bottle of 2011 Domain Léon Barral, Faugères represents the fourth vintage I have tasted from the estate since the 2010s were skipped in Washington, DC .  The regular Faugeres from Domaine Léon Barral continues to be my favorite amongst the three red wines.  The 2011 vintage is a strong follow up to the 2009 vintage.  It does, however, offer up some Pilsner notes both on the nose and in the mouth.  I found this slightly distracting but was still charmed by the flavors.  I do get the sense that it could use more time in the cellar so buy at least two bottles, one for now and one for later.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 Domaine Léon Barral, Faugères – $32
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault sourced from 40-70 year old vines on soils of schist.  The fruit is fermented in cement cuves with indigenous yeasts, aged for two years in a combination of cement and stainless steel then bottled without sulphur.  Alcohol 14%.  There were some high-toned red fruit aromas that were ripe with a note of Pilsner.  In the mouth were ripe red fruit flavors, along with some cranberry, that had a hint of roundness before blacker, not quite earthy, fruit came out.  There was good focus to the fruit.  The ripeness built in the mouth with flavors that stuck to the gums.  It left flavors of dried spices in the aftertaste and cinnamon on the back of the through.  There was a Pilsner flavor with air.  *** Now-2022.

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2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Jadis and Valiniere

February 6, 2014 Leave a comment

If it were not for the close-out prices I never would have opened bottles of 2009 Domaine Leon Barral Jadis and Valiniere.  However, after falling in love with The Brilliant 2009 Didier Barral, Faugeres I could not resist trying these other selections.  I ended up opening two bottles of Jadis.  The first bottle was interesting at first but with air the Brett seemed to bloom and the wine became difficult to enjoy by the end of the evening.  On the second night it was undrinkable.  There was interesting funk and earth but the wine had become piercing and incredibly tannic.  A second bottle proved much better with more defined fruit.  There was still some of the brett character which leads me to believe this is a polarizing wine.  Whereas the base Faugeres is quite expressive right now the Valiniere is drinkable but the best is yet to come.  I shall report back towards the end of the decade and suggest you stash some Valiniere away as well.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Jadis, Faugeres – $27
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Syrah, and 20% Grenache sourced from 30 to 60 year old vines.  The wine was aged 24 to 26 months in 10% new oak.   Alcohol 14%.  The nose was tight yet deep and dense with aroma.  In the mouth were tight flavors that revealed red and black fruit.  The wine was funky with savory flavors, white pepper, and black minerals.  There was a lot of acidity with prominent and very fine tannins on the gums.  Needs age.  **(**) 2019-2029.

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2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Valiniere, Faugeres – $45
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 80% Mourvedre and 20% Syrah sourced from 15-30 year old vines.  The wine was aged 24 to 26 months in 10% new oak.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a subtle nose of old polished wood and bitters.  In the mouth were concentrated flavors of Kirsch that were fresh and youthful but delivered in a haze of the old-school.  There was raspberry candy notes as a definite tannic structure came out.  The structure had no hard edges but left a hint of wood.  With air the wine took on a lovely, ripe, grippy aftertaste and with its fresh acidity, remained lovely.  Approachable not but best left to develop in the cellar.  ***(*) Now-2029.

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